The formation of the Association traces its beginnings to RCAF Station Comox, BC, on 1 March 1966, when one American, one Australian, and nineteen Canadian airmen of 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron became the founding members of an association of airmen to be known as the P-2000 Club. Wing Commander Herb Smale, as Commanding Officer of 407 Squadron, led this initiative as a means to increase aircrew pride in the unit by recognizing the experience and seniority of many of the aircrew, and more importantly, to stimulate enthusiasm for long range maritime flying operations among the junior aircrew joining the squadron. The original Charter of the P-2000 Club had two principal objectives: first was to form an association of aircrew who had logged over 2000 flight hours on the P-2V Neptune aircraft for the purpose of fostering goodwill and fellowship; and secondly to promote and encourage the formation of additional branches of the P-2000 Club around the world.
Although the Association grew rapidly, the P-2V aircraft were being retired from active service as a result new members were becoming scarce. Thus, on 1 November 1970, the Association was expanded to become the VP International (VPI) Association, under the sponsorship of the RCAF Station Greenwood Base Commander. A new Charter, Constitution and By-laws were drawn up and a new crest/emblem approved. Embossed on a Maple Leaf is the silhouette of a P-2V Neptune with the letters “VP” and inscription "INTERNATIONAL" circling the globe. The Neptune aircraft denotes the link with the P-2000 Club, the Maple Leaf indicates the Canadian origin of the Association, and the globe doubles as a gyro symbolizing the stability and precision necessary in MP teamwork as well as the worldwide scope and fellowship the Association encompasses.
The term "VP" is a military designation applied to fixed-wing Maritime Patrol (MP) aircraft employed in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, anti-surface and anti-submarine operations. The objective of VPI is: "To maintain a worldwide organization of aircrew to foster goodwill and fellowship through the promotion of understanding and recognition of VP operations". Today the VPI Association has a worldwide membership of over 6000 regular and retired aircrew in 23 countries.
VPI has continued to adapt to address the evolving challenges and changes in VP operations today. Membership criteria is no longer based on a flying hours criteria, which would be harder to attain given reduced aircraft fleet sizes and flying rates. VPI now offers membership to a graduate from a VP OTU with a posting to an operational squadron. Graduates are recognized with a blue maple leaf pin, and members achieving certain flying hour levels are further recognized with a red pin for 1500 hrs, a silver pin for 5000 hrs, and a gold pin for 8760 hrs (a year in the air). Honourary membership may be awarded to select officials and senior officers in recognition of their contribution to the promotion of the principles and ideals of the Association.
The VPI community celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016.